Over 1,500 people came out to Flying Cross Ranch over the weekend for Baby Animal Days.
Ranch Owner Roy Sturgeon said the weekend was a result of renewed emphasis on ag tourism and promoting agriculture education.
“We have done quite a few different things and we have been very active with the program called Open Farm Days,” he said. “That is the third weekend of August every year and what that is is you open up your farm or ranch to the public.
“They come in and see what you do. That is where the idea came from.”
Last summer, Roy and his wife Christina Sturgeon went to an ag conference in California which led to them re-branding their events.
“Chrissy hatched the idea of Baby Animal Days,” Roy said. “Last year we had something called Sundays at the Ranch, where we gave pony rides, had a petting zoo and a few other things. This is basically what we did with a bit of re-branding and some baby animals. We had lambs, baby goats, chicks, ducks and cattle.
“It went viral. It went absolutely crazy. It was a fantastic day, both Saturday and Sunday. We had 800 plus people on Saturday and probably 700 on Sunday.”
The event also had over 4,000 likes on Facebook, with attendees posting their photos of the weekend.
Roy added the weekend helped introduce the younger generation to where their food comes from.
“Kids these days don’t know much about ag They have been so removed from it and many of them have no idea where their food comes from, how it is raised or what it looks like. To them chicken comes from a supermarket in a wrapper,” he said, adding there was educational kids activities throughout the whole weekend.
The ranch will carry on these educational events throughout the summer.
“We will continue on and we will run petting zoos on the weekends all summer,” he said. “We will have two or three major events throughout the year. After this weekend we have to regroup and reorganize — we knew we would have a lot of people, but not like that.
“We had a ton of people on our side helping us, but truthfully we were overwhelmed. We had quite a few more people than we thought. We didn’t know what to expect for numbers.”
He added events to watch out for are Open Farm Days later in August and Talk Derby to Me, “Which is a Kentucky Derby theme party/murder mystery we do at our place. This is to fundraiser for the kids in the barn. A lot of our kids are low-income families and single-parent families”.